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number 4

St. Patrick's Day, 2003: A.P. Deli, Oak Park

by David Hammond

In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her Eve, her singtime sung, her ril be run, unhemmed as it is uneven.

That’s one of two toasts I offer up every St. Patrick’s Day (the other is “To the Brits – that they take their bloody hands off Ireland”).

So tonight, as I scanned the news (which, let’s face it, can’t be good, whether you’re a member of the Republican Party or the Republican Guard), I needed the sacrament of the day. My gut cried for it.

Normally, today, the house would be full of Irish smells: the corned beef, the cabbage, the soda bread. The Wife, unfortunately, was unexpectedly called away to the opera. Now, in these times, the gaudy spectacle of a Civic Opera display should, technically speaking, be judged a war crime. It also kept our family from celebrating the day.

So, at 9:00 PM, on this day, one of the holiest of the year (after Halloween), I felt empty, in need of the body and the blood of the day, the beef that is corned and the brew that is dark.

So I went on a solo run to A.P. Deli (which, on a previous occasion, I had timed out at less than 20 minutes, my door to theirs and back), and picked up a sandwich.

Then, under a full moon, in the mists of this sacred day, I laid on my back in my back yard, wife at the opera, daughters watching bad television, me peeling off strips of blood red beef, quaffing blackness, staring up through the mists at the solemn white eye looking back, unflinching, silently regarding a lunatic planet.

There are so many snakes out there, and not a saint in sight to drive them away.

A.P. Deli
6311 W. North Avenue
Oak Park, IL

David Hammond is a writer living in Oak Park, Illinois, with his wife, three daughters, and a very foolish dog.

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